School of Communication honors students during Communication Week

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Communication students receive their cords. Photo by Morgan Tyner - The Tartan

Travis Handy

As part of the Radford University School of Communication’s annual celebration of Communication Week, the school honored its outstanding students and inducted this year’s members to the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society. The ceremony was held in Muse Hall’s Banquet Room at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29.

Interim Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Lynn Zoch, was there to welcome the group of about 50 people who gathered to witness or take part in the occasion. Of the group, 25 were new inductees to the National Communication Association’s honor society, otherwise known as Lambda Pi Eta. Radford University is home to LPH’s Lambda Mu chapter.

Before the group was inducted, the SOC director, Dr. Vincent Hazelton, took a moment to say a few words about the degree of excellence among the students in the department. He expressed pride in their achievements, as well as the impact the students have on the faculty, as he commented that the students make it possible for them to be successful professors.

“I would like to thank all of those who have been my students and who will be my students,” Hazelton said. “You are what floats our boat.”

Hazelton’s remarks were followed by the induction ceremony, which was conducted by the LPH faculty advisor and SOC assistant professor and RU alum, Dr. Sandra French. French warmly welcomed and congratulated the honorees, who were asked to stand and be recognized.

According to French’s account of the honor society’s history, LPH was founded in 1985 at the University of Arkansas. There are over 400 active chapters at four-year schools across the country and around the world, and it became known as the NCA’s official national honor society in 1995.

In her message to the inductees, French discussed the foundation of the society, which is based on Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion, from “The Rhetoric.” French explained the concepts behind “logos,” or logic, “pathos,” which has to do with the emotional appeal a speaker has to an audience and “ethos,” which is connected to a person’s character and credibility.

“Therefore, ethos is a major component of membership in Lambda Pi Eta,” French said.

She also expressed her excitement for the members of LPH to become involved and make the organization what they want it to be. This year’s group of 25 is the largest group of inductees the Lambda Mu chapter has had so far.

To be invited to join LPH, students were required to have completed at least 12 hours of communication courses and to have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0.  They must also have earned a 3.25 GPA for communication courses, be currently enrolled RU students in good standing and display a commitment to the field of communication.

After responding to the pledge recited by Dr. French, the inductees were welcomed as LPH members.  All students inducted received a certificate and a pin in recognition of their achievement. Graduating seniors also received graduation honor cords of red and white.

Other students honored at the event were students of the year from both communications and media studies, as well as dean’s scholars for each side.

The students of the year in communication are sophomore Vanessa Quesenberry and junior Lauren Miller. The communication dean’s scholar is Katie Frank.

The students of the year in media studies are sophomore Robert Quillen and junior Arielle Retting. The media studies dean’s scholar is senior Michael Andrews.

During the event, the audience heard a condensed version of one student’s presentation to the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. Professor Betty Kennan introduced senior public relations major Stephanie Cashwell, who took a few minutes to share the research she had done on the popular social media site Twitter. Cashwell’s research focuses on the habits of Twitter users, who she says are using the site to “manage their identities,” as well as for branding.

It’s really about “the way people try to present themselves to the rest of the world,” Cashwell said. Her presentation also touched on the recent Twitter sensation surrounding Charlie Sheen.

Cashwell will presented her research at NCUR, in Ithaca, N.Y. from March 31-April 2, 2011.

“Every year we have good students,” Dr. Hazelton said. “I’ve been here for 17 years and I think we’re getting better and we’ve grown a lot.  We truly have some exceptional students, and these are some of them.”

Dr. Zoch was happy the event went well and so many people showed up.

“I think it’s great that we’re honoring students along the way,” Zoch said. “It was a nice event, especially for the first time we’ve done it.”

Junior Taylor Bikowski was one of this year’s LPH inductees. She is a PR major and is active in multiple ways around campus. Bikowski is now serving as president of the Radford University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, and hinted at plans to run for president of LPH.

“I’ve wanted to be in it [LPH] since freshman year,” Bikowski said. “I was worried that I wouldn’t get it, so I’m really excited to be inducted, because I was waiting for it.”

Everyone in attendance was invited to a catered reception after the ceremony.

Hazelton said that all book awards and plaques given to the students honored at the event were made possible by gifts from alumni and friends of the university through the Alumni Foundation.

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